July 8, 2016 – Vice Chancellor for Research Terri Fiez has named Abby Benson as the executive director of CU Boulder AeroSpace Ventures (ASV). Benson was previously the associate vice president of Government Relations for the University of Colorado system.
CU Boulder AeroSpace Ventures is a global leader in interdisciplinary research and education for earth and space systems. Created in 2012, ASV brings together students, researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry and government leaders to provide hands-on education experiences for next generation leaders, support discovery of fundamental breakthroughs, pioneer new technologies, and incubate space innovation.
As a key leader for the Government Relations team since 2012, Abby has advocated for increased support of CU priorities, including aerospace-related research and higher education funding and policies, at both the state and federal levels.
“I am so excited to help lead CU Boulder AeroSpace Ventures into its next chapter, and to further strengthen collaboration among the many amazing aerospace-related programs at CU Boulder and our partners across Colorado,” Benson said.
Benson has served in several leadership roles in the higher education government relations community, including as past Chair of the Association of American Universities (AAU) Council on Federal Relations and as a member of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) Council on Government Affairs Executive Committee. In 2012 Abby also served as President of the Science Coalition, an organization dedicated to strengthening the federal government’s investment in university-based scientific, medical, engineering and agricultural research.
Prior to joining CU, Benson was Assistant Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Washington, DC office. She also served for over nine years as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, and worked as a geologist for Tetra Tech and Arthur D. Little.
Vice Chancellor Fiez believes Benson’s appointment strengthens ASV as a critical hub for aerospace innovation for both Colorado and the nation. “Abby has been building partnerships with aerospace leaders across the state, including state government, industry and her counterparts at other universities, for years. This, combined with her strong relationships with our federal agency partners, makes Abby uniquely qualified to leverage the entire aerospace ecosystem to ensure that CU Boulder AeroSpace Ventures and Colorado are at the forefront of innovation in aerospace for years to come.”
“I’m delighted that Abby is joining us in this capacity” said Penny Axelrad, Professor and Chair, Aerospace Engineering Sciences. “ASV has been building collaborations among CU’s aerospace-related science and engineering departments since 2012. We’re excited that Abby will continue to build this collaborative community – extending our activities outward to work with industry, state government, federal laboratories, and impacting the future direction of aerospace in Colorado, the US and internationally.”